Man charged over theft of peregrine falcon eggs from nest in quarry

A peregrine falcon at Malham Cove, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (Danny Lawson/PA)
A peregrine falcon at Malham Cove, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (Danny Lawson/PA)

A man has been charged with two animal offences after allegedly stealing peregrine falcon eggs from a quarry in Derbyshire.

Christopher Wheeldon, 34, has been charged with disturbing the nesting site of a wild bird and taking the eggs of a wild bird, after the incident in Bolsover Moor quarry at about 4:20pm on April 23.

Derbyshire Police said that Wheeldon, of Lime Grove, Darley Dale, Matlock, is due to appear at North East Derbyshire & Dales Magistrates Court, in Chesterfield, on October 16.

He was released on bail pending his court appearance.

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Peregrines are known for being one of the fastest animals in the world (Verity Hill/RSPB/PA)
Peregrines like to nest on cliff faces or rocky outcrops away from predators (Verity Hill/RSPB/PA)

Peregrines are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are the country’s largest falcon, according to the Wildlife Trusts.

This makes it an offence to intentionally take, injure or kill a peregrine, or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young.

It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season.

The birds frequently nest on coastal cliff edges and other rocky outcrops but have in recent years nested in locations such as Derby Cathedral and the BT Tower in Birmingham as they spread further inland.

They are known for being among the fastest animals on the planet, reaching speeds of up to 200mph when they dive on prey from height, known as “stooping”.